Erik's Engineering

something alliterative

Accidental Slashdotting

Last weekend I unveiled a little side project I'd started a couple weeks before.

While I was at NCSoft, we were evaluating different development languages and frameworks. I figured that it would be important to know what kind of community there was around the different languages and frameworks. One measure of that community is how many modules are being added to the language or framework's module repository. My idea was that the more modules being added, the more active the community is. A large repository might represent a very mature language, but lack of new entries means that the community has largely died.

I ended up tracking this by hand for a while. I didn't get around to automating it until this month. Going to Cafe Bedouins (I was one of the instigators of the South Austin chapter) helped immensely by setting aside some time during the week to work on hobby projects.

I put my new site up at hosted on Heroku using their free plan and spread the word via Facebook and Twitter over the weekend.

Monday morning, it hit the first page of Slashdot. I was more than a little thrilled. Luckily, I'd planned for making the site efficient to serve out. The whole site consisted of a single HTML page, a style sheet and a couple javascript libraries. I flagged the index page as cacheable for 5 minutes, so Heroku's varnish caches could soak up most of the load.

The only catch was that something about my use of javascript_include_tag :all was resulting in a lot of failed hits looking for "all.js". The same was happening for an "all.css" file, too. Heroku's caches passed the requests on through, so my dyno got 2 hits for every page view. Manually listing all the stylesheets and javascripts solved the problem. Heroku's free plan never broke a sweat.

I was really impressed with how easy it was to set up and deploy an application on Heroku. The only thing that sort of tripped me up was that you really need to add quite a few add-ons before you have what I'd consider a minimal application. In this case, I needed to add the "logs" add-on so I could check my application logs. The free version only covers a few lines, but it's enough to let you make sure you're not erroring all the time. The cron job add-on lets me update the counts each night. The Custom Domain add-on lets me have a nice domain name and the PG Backups add-on lets me get db backups. These were all free, so I was only out the cost of the domain registration.

Published on 23/12/2010 at 17h10 under , . Tags , , ,

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